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Saturday, April 26, 2014

F is for FISH is FISH

Last Friday, I went to the university library to hunt for a recipe on how to teach science for my kids in a better way. While in the process of revolving my eyeballs for the best shot to capture the perfect book, it accidentally happened to glimpse the lateral part of a book on the opposite shelf with the title How Students Learn: SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM.  
The title of the book was just enough to rape the whole share of my virgin attention on that cool morning. So, without wasting the time, with the book stuffed on my left palm, I tugged an empty chair standing vacant nearby. I followed my ritual of reading the blurb first to investigate whether my mind can release the verdict of acceptance in reading the book.
The blurb was capturing and mesmerizing though. It boasted the inclusion of voluminous pervasive scientific experiments and exciting utility of the book that can revitalize the effectiveness of science teaching within the four walls of the classroom.
Since then, I was not able to complete the marathon of reading the entire page. Hence, I switched to the content page and slipped off to the introduction page by coincidence. My eyeballs remain glued here again.         
The story titled ‘Fish is Fish’, which originally hails from Lionni (1970) was exposed with all flesh-and-blood. Here it goes:
In the story, a young fish is very curious about the world outside the water. His good friend the frog, on returning from the land, tells the fish about it excitedly.

“I have been about the world—hopping here and there,” said the frog, “and I have seen extraordinary things.”

“Like what?” asked the fish.

“Birds,” said the frog mysteriously. “Birds!” And he told the fish about the birds, who had wings, and two legs, and many, many colors. As the frog talked, his friend saw the birds fly through his mind like large feathered fish.
The bird as imagined by the fish    Photo Courtesy: Click the LINK

The frog continues with descriptions of cows, which the fish imagines as black-and-white spotted fish with horns and udders, and humans, which the fish imagines as fish walking upright and dressed in clothing 
Courtesy: Brandsford, John. & Donovan, M. (Eds). (2005. p 2). How Students Learn: SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM. Washington: The National Academies Press
The cow in the mind of a fish   Photo Courtesy: Click the LINK
Human being in the mind of a fish   Courtesy: Click the LINK
This story by Lionni (1970) resonates with rhythms of so many philosophical understandings and interpretations. It shares the similar views of the constructivists where they belief that new knowledge is only constructed based on the prior experiences and the ideas of an individual.
The poor fish (as revealed in the story) which has never in its life went out of the pond can only imagine the human walk in their form and a cow  with udders and horns in their form too. The fish has constructed these images based on its prior ideas and experiences which Jean Piaget (1896-1980), the founder of constructivism, coined it as schemata. Piaget firmly believed that our children learn through organization and schemas and construct their ideas through exploration. And philosophers like that of John Dewey and Vygotsky have also supported with the similar ideas of Piaget.
However there is another reason for me to love this story. It has a strong philosophical flesh hanging on the skeleton of this story. This story reveals the truth that our life is a fair game. What a frog can do easily is something that the fish finds it difficult to do. The frog can breathe outside the water but the fish can’t.
So, with this concept of superiority-inferiority imbalances, it gives me a thought whether my weakness is still a limitation to make me inferior than someone who can do it in a better way. Or does it mean that my strengths are really the true strengths to differentiate me separately from others?   
The moral in this story has honestly been a phenomenon that has affected my mind beyond compare. 

“People are always complaining that life’s not fair, but that simply isn’t true. Life is extraordinarily fair. It’s just not centered on you” – Lynn Marie Sager


  1. Cool post !
    Everyone is unique and life is beautiful :)
    Have a nice weekend ahead :)

    1. Yes Rajiv, life is beautiful in its own way. I am sorry I could not log into your page. I will do it soon once I have finished cleaning my academic works. Thank you.

  2. Oh, what a great lesson, and how very thought-provoking! Thanks so much for the post, this is probably something I'll be thinking about all week! :)

    1. Thank you so much Michelle as always. I could not see your message for long because I was kind of busy these days. I hope you are doing great.

  3. You have definitely set me thinking too!
    Wow...such a powerful has turned my self-image upside down.
    Am I really a failure because I am unable to do something another person can do easily?
    Or am I a success, only in a different way to that person?

    After reading this great piece, I have come to the conclusion that we are ALL a success...just in different fields.

    Thank you have given me confidence to be who I am, without needing to compare myself to anyone else...such a precious gift!

    Many, many thanks...:)

    1. I am not certain whether I have written something that can make other people think. But I am humbled as always to receive those comments, which in many ways keep me moving.
      Thank you Ygraine. If in case I fail to drop the message on your page, it means I am kind of busy. I want to read and comment.

  4. What a wonderfully powerful post. I'm so glad I read it. I am now your newest follower, and it's nice to 'meet' you.

    1. First of all, thank you for the comments. I also thank you for joining my page. It would be an injustice for me if I don't join a powerful writers like you all. So, I am also a new reader of your blog.

  5. It's true... life is not centered on us as much as we would like to think it is...

    Thank you for your comment on my blog :) Have a great day

    1. Thank you Launna for the comments. Sorry it took me long to acknowledge it.

  6. Wow!! Very nice post..I came to conclude that life is as beautiful as you think if one see god within themselves..

    1. Thank you so much Tashi. You are in fact the first person among all of my students to comment on my page. I am humbled. Thanks.

  7. An excellent post! The thoughts of the fish remind me of the phrase 'think outside the box'. This is a hugely popular phrase used by many professionals who say that parents should teach their children to think outside the box from a very young age. I however do believe that the child should first discover what is inside the box before being taught to think outside the box. What are your thoughts on this subject? About life being fair or unfair, well, we all have our strengths and weaknesses and perhaps should be persuaded to work on our strengths rather than dwell upon our weaknesses :) Success should, I feel, be measured against your own
    milestones and not that of others! I think you are a great success as a teacher since you are spending a great deal of time looking for guidance on how to teach your students in a better way:)

    1. Thank you for your long and an insightful comments. Thank you for taking time in reading my page. I also believe in what you have commented. I am on your part. hehe

  8. Nice story and post Dumcho! Enjoy reading it :)



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